“Memories; the brain’s diary entries of your life. Now, imagine those pages being ripped out and tossed into the wind…you get the picture? Well, that’s the story of my life.” Adunni. O.
*Recap: Adunni loses her job at the restaurant. Mr Basi gets served divorce papers by his wife and Folarin meets up with his brother, Femi. Adunni agrees to Folarin’s request when she starts receiving threatening messages and is determined to find out about her past.*
I explained to Halima that I would be leaving for a few days.
“Are you really sure about this?” She asked. Folarin planned to return the next day so that I’ll be prepared.
“I don’t know what to think Halima,” I layed back on the sofa. “But so far he’s been honest. Besides, weren’t you the one who so helpfully let him in?” I tossed her a look.
“True, although I wasn’t expecting him to sweep you off to his home the very next day.” She laughed.
“It’s not as romantic as it seems. Besides, you know about the threats. I have no idea who I’m dealing with here. Our only lead is my former boss and I’m not eager to show my face there again.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that he obviously cares about you.” She smiled, walking away before I could protest.
The next day, my belongings were packed, there wasn’t much of it anyway. But I was full of second thoughts.
Was this even a wise decision?
But then, my mind flashed to the previous evening when I noticed the men trailing me home from the supermarket.
That’s when I realised, staying at Halima’s place might also put her in danger.
When the knock came at the door, I went to answer it but I just there stood staring at him.
“Aren’t you going to let me in?” Folarin smiled but his eyes were troubled.
Ignoring my racing heart, I stepped to the side wondering what on earth was wrong with me. Why was I so nervous all of a sudden?
As we put my things in his car, I felt something was off.
“Is anything wrong?” I asked.
He shook his head with a small smile. “You’ve always been able to read me.”
His words made me feel like he was referring to a completely different version of myself. After all, I only knew little about him. But I decided to let the comment slide.
“I asked some of my men to get information about who’s behind all this…”
“And?” I asked. Personally, I suspected Madam Furah was trying to scare me from disclosing her involvement.
“There’s no way your boss could have sent the message because she’s been in a coma for two days. She was found unconscious in her apartment and was rushed to the hospital but still hasn’t woken up. We can’t get anything from her.”
I was speechless but one thing was clear to me and it’s that we’d hit a dead end.
Minutes later, we were on our way. The ride was silent and the next thing I remember was waking up to the sound of crashing waves.
“We’re here.” Folarin said, unlocking the car doors.
I blinked away sleep and sat up in my seat, fully awake.
I felt my eyes widen as I took in the sights. The smooth white sand like the kind found at a beach and tall coconut trees made the house feel more like a resort. The building itself was a thing of wonder with its unusual design. Full length glass windows with white curtains and sliding doors, the balcony was made with tinted blue glass that stood out from the white building.
A distance off, there was a thatched roof lounge area facing the beach and beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean.
I was completely mesmerised.
“Adun, you coming?” He said with amusement.
I shut my gaping mouth and hurried out of the car. He already had half my things out.
“Um…are your parents expecting us?” I asked, not sure what to say in my stunned state.
He glanced at me. “I live alone, except for my security guards and the occasional caretakers. You don’t remember that either?”
I shook my head.
“There’s a lot we still need to talk about.” He stopped at the door and put in the security code.
He wasn’t lying about his place being secure.
“As long as you remain within the premises till this is sorted out, you’ll be safe. Everything you need has already been made available but if there’s anything else, just ask me.” He stroked my face tenderly but I moved back, letting his hand fall away.
His expression dimmed slightly with disappointment, but he didn’t say anything as he turned to set my bags inside before setting the door alarm back on.
“I’ll show you to your room.” He gestured for me to follow him.
Something about the room felt familiar. The walls were white, while the floor had wooden tiles. A sliding glass door revealed the balcony, overlooking a portion of the beach. A flat screen TV was placed on the wall facing the bed which looked so warm and cosy, I couldn’t wait to sink into it.
“This was your favourite room in the house, it’s where you stayed when you used to visit. Of course, you would sometimes sneak into my room at night…”
My mouth dropped open and he laughed. A deep, rich sound that surprised me.
“That never happened actually, you were always the one kicking me out when I tried to come in here.”
He left me to get settled in, I took a bath and changed into clean clothes. I felt refreshed, the sleepiness from earlier was gone so I went downstairs.
I followed the amazing aroma wafting around the house to find him in the kitchen.
“You cook?” I asked, in surprise.
“I can’t say that I’m talented in that area but the food is still edible. The cook doesn’t return till next week or thereabout. So that leaves you in my hands.” He winked playfully, as he dished up the food.
I shook my head, holding back a smile as I went to help him set the plates on the table. He made it difficult not to like him. I was about to take a seat when he caught my hand in his.
“What?” I asked, following his gaze to my wrist where the bracelet was. I’d decided to wear it after my shower to see if it would mean anything to him.
“You still have that? I thought you got rid of it.” His expression was disbelieving.
“Why would I do that?”
He avoided my question and instead, focused his attention on getting us drinks and a bottle of water each.
“You promised to tell me everything if I came with you and I did.” I reminded him. “I don’t know anything about my own life or my family. I can’t even remember them. Folarin, you’re the only link I have. Please.”
“Eat first, then we’ll talk.” He sighed and pushed my plate forward but didn’t touch his until much later.
I could tell that not everything he had to share was going to be pleasant.
After the meal, he couldn’t delay any longer. Folarin went to his room and came back out with a photo album.
“I locked this away after the burial. It brought back too many sad memories.” His tone was low and solem.
“What burial?” I asked, my heart beat rapidly as if it knew what was coming next.
“Your parents and brother’s burial, Adunni. My parents said they saw you get in the car, no one understands how you survived. That day, 24th of July, I can’t forget. It was your graduation party. You had a first class and we were all so excited. I wasn’t in the country though I promised you that I’d make it but I didn’t. I sent the bracelet with our initials,” His fingers trailed over the diamond studded F.A and his gaze met mine.
“It was so you could remember that I loved you and was proud of you no matter what. But you were mad at me because it wasn’t the first time I put my career before you, before our relationship. You told me you threw the bracelet away since it seemed I’d done the same with us.”
Apparently, I never did.
“I missed out on so much because I was always busy and never around. Rumours started flying about me being unfaithful.” He chuckled bitterly.
“I couldn’t even look at another woman that way Adun, not when I had you. I was trying to make a life for us, I didn’t want to depend on my father’s wealth…guess I got a bit carried away. We broke up a day before the accident.”
My mind was spinning. I didn’t know which was better. Learning about their deaths and accepting reality or never even finding out and being blissfully ignorant. And then Folarin…
“You said we were in a relationship, do you mean…”
“We were engaged. Our marriage was supposed to take place three months after your graduation.”
He tapped at a picture. “There’s you with your family.”
A pang of emptiness hit me. It felt like I was looking at strangers. I recognised myself and I saw a little resemblance in the young boy who stood beside me, but I couldn’t place them. In a strange way, it made everything a little easier to bear.
“That’s your younger brother, Bayo and those are your parents. You father was a well known journalist, sometimes he wrote about Politics and your mom was an artist. Our parents knew each other and that’s how we met. I think you got your talent for drawing from her.” He smiled sadly.
The scenes I’d drawn in my notebook came to mind. The accident, a house, a street sign, Folarin. Something occurred to me.
“I wasn’t involved in any car crash. It was a hit and run accident.” Everything was mixed up.
He looked just as confused.
“But you told me you-.”
“Yes, but I wasn’t in a car.”
“The Police reported four bodies…it was even in the papers…” He got up and retrieved an old clipped out newspaper article.
The glaring headline caught my eye.
Family of Four Die in Ghastly Motor Accident.
“On Friday, 24th of July 2015, a tragic motor accident claimed the life of famous journalist Mr Akin Okikiola, his wife Tolani and their two children, Bayo and Adunni. The bodies were unidentifiable due to the degree of burns, but the car was identified as belonging to the family…”
I let the newspaper fall unto my lap. It was true, they were all dead. But how was I…
I never got to finish the thought because a piercing pain suddenly spread through my entire head.
He was seated in the waiting room at the hospital when footsteps came towards him. He looked up into a familiar face, after all, it was exactly like his.
“Thanks for coming.” He said, lifting his head from his hands.
“You don’t have to thank me, I may love to piss you off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have your back.” Femi said, taking a seat beside him. “Is she okay? I still can’t believe it. Adun’s been alive all this time. If only we found her earlier.”
Femi, despite his wild streak had always supported his brother’s relationship with Adunni. Although, he himself wasn’t particularly interested in the whole notion of ’till death do us part’.
A doctor stepped out of Adunni’s room and towards the two men. They shook hands briefly before he gave them an update on her condition.
“She experienced a major trigger which unlocked her memories. This is her brain’s way of coping with the onslaught of information that’s been locked away for so long but, she’ll wake up in a few days.”
Folarin gave a sigh of relief as the doctor left.
“In the meantime…” Femi gave his brother a look.
“Let’s dig out the unlucky fool who’s been causing trouble.” Folarin finished.
He got to his feet, signalling the guards stationed at the door. They weren’t to permit anyone access into the room if their name wasn’t on the list.
~Three days later~
The police surrounded the lavish building of Senator Akello Duberi. Long time member of the ruling political party and supposed good friend of Governor Adeniji.
“I want to speak to my lawyer.” Was the only thing he said when the police handcuffed him and took him to the station.
“Backstabbing old man.” Femi sneered at the van as it drove away.
Another visit to Madam Furah, now conscious, had revealed how the Senator blackmailed her into attempting to poison Folarin and their father. He was also behind the attack in an attempt to silence her.
They dug further in collaboration with well trusted detectives, to discover that the murder of several group supporters had been an act to disfavour their father’s regime and eliminate his chances at a second term. He had also sabotaged many projects the Governor had launched.
It didn’t end there, the Senator planned to carry out his threat and have Adunni abducted and killed for disrupting his plans. They got the information from one of the men working for him.
All of this, he did so that he could have a chance at being the Governor. Something he would never get now.
Folarin’s phone rang, diverting his attention.
“I’m on my way.” He said, ending the call. He turned to his brother. “I have to-”
“Go, I’m pretty sure that was some good news.” Femi said with a knowing smile. “I’ll handle things here.”
The images poured into my mind. They flashed vividly one after the other and this time, they weren’t foreign to me.
Memories right from my childhood till date filled in all the blank spaces. Several birthday parties, family and friends, my graduation party, my engagement to Folarin, our arguments, break up, everything.
Both accidents took place the same day.
I really did get into the car with my family after the graduation party but during the ride, I got a call from a friend about the private after party. Unable to resist, I’d told my parents to drop me off at a bus stop nearby so I wouldn’t miss it. I remember hugging my little brother and promising my parents I’d be back home later that evening.
I knew that once I got home, I would spend hours in my room crying over him and I couldn’t deal with that. I needed to forget our break up somehow, even just for a little while.
Before my parents left, they picked up a friend from the event who was going in their direction while I got out of the car.
It was while I was waiting at the bus stop, that a vehicle came out of nowhere and knocked me down.
I blinked my eyes open to find a doctor checking my vital signs.
“Good, you’re awake. How are you feeling?” He asked.
As simple as the question was, I was feeling far too much to describe, so I just nodded instead.
“I’ll call your fiancé and let him know you’re awake.”
When the doctor left, I whispered the word. Fiancé. A small smile grew across my lips.
A nurse helped me to the bathroom so that I could freshen up and also gave me a change of clothes, since I was ready to be discharged.
Around noon, Folarin came. He stepped into the room quietly as if not sure what he would find. Yet there was a distinct gleam of hope in his eyes.
“Adun…?” He trailed off as if waiting for something. Some sort of sign.
I wrapped my arms around him in a tight hug unwilling to let him go. I couldn’t believe that I’d managed to forget just how much he meant to me. Despite our fights and arguments before my memory loss, I couldn’t believe I was silly enough to let him go.
“I missed you so much.” I whispered.
I felt the tension leave his body as he relaxed into my embrace.
“You have no idea… I mourned for so long Adun, only for you to show up out of the blue. A second chance with you, but you wouldn’t even let me come close.”
“I’m so sorry.” I didn’t even know how to make it better.
“You have nothing to apologise for. From now on I promise, we’ll make it work. I won’t disregard our relationship. You have my full attention.” He leaned down and kissed my cheek softly, this time I didn’t pull away.
~Two Months Later~
Folarin and I renewed our engagement and we were determined to see the marriage through. Our wedding date was already set.
Folarin’s best man was to be his brother, Femi and my maid of honour, Halima. I’m pleased to say that I noticed sparks flying between those two when they met.
There was no confusion between us as we could easily tell the difference between the brothers.
I met Folarin’s parents who were overjoyed to see us back together. They shared fond memories of my family and things I hadn’t even known about my parents.
I got in contact with tons of relatives and old friends who couldn’t believe their eyes but were happy to see me alive and well. And to think that I’d roamed the streets of Lagos all alone, it was almost ironic, the number of people I knew.
Folarin encouraged me to keep a journal where I recorded special events in detail. I prayed never to experience such loss again, so I planned to cherish every moment from now on.
Besides, it was time to make new memories.
WRITTEN BY BOLU AKINMARIN
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